‘Twas the weekend before Christmas when all over the ski hill,
The sound of snow guns could be heard, so the trails they would be filled.
Macker sat high on his groomer laying out carpets of white.
While Laz on his snowplow made sure no cars would have a fright.
Because already in December the snow had come aplenty,
And so far the number of skiers might have been only one hundred and twenty.
So, the fine folks at Platty sent out a call:
On skiers, on snowboarders, on shredders – come one and all.
More rapid than eagles they did respond.
They’ve started coming from further and further, from far beyond–
Hearing rumors of tree skiing and fine, fine terrain
Plus, kind people and lift lines that are not a strain.
The hill it is open, and Riley has poached his own secret stash
But hurry, that powder might go fast.
Because I saw Santa head for the top of the Block
Crying out, This my friends, I will rock.
With his fat skis on, a pair of Rossi S7s
This run, he said, is my own slice of heaven
But I heard him exclaim, ere he skied out of sight.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
Okay there are always questions that come with Opening Day. Can you find your ski socks? (check). Your gloves and helmet? (check). Have you sharpened your edges? (check.) And have you packed cash to tip the bartender? (check). Because remember Platty's bar is awesome. But then there's how it feels to get back on the hill, that Opening Day fluttler of nervousness at skiing for the first time in a new season. Well, add to this another question: How much? And by how much I do not mean open terrain. No, I mean snow. A storm is scheduled, Platty could get six inches. Or a foot. So better not have two left feet.
And stay tuned for pictures of opening day antics.Also on the blog this year there will be coverage of the new updated terrain park and stories with K.C. Jones and Preston Lemaster, the maestros behind the park. They are the ones driving it, and if you've got questions about it, send 'em to me and I'll make sure they answer and pronto. Or I'll answer for them...
See you Saturday!
MTB Season begins at Platty. Since opening day for biking, it's been been full speed ahead with trail work here at Plattekill. We've got TONS of work going on all over the mountain on our bike trails as we are full speed ahead working on an ALL NEW course for the Plattekill ProGRT Downhill race coming to Plattekill May 26. In addition, we've had a small army out on the slopes working on an ALL NEW BEGINNER BIKE TRAIL from the top of the mountain to the base. This much needed trail will make for a real nice easy way down for new mountain bikers to the mountain and people that are looking for a fun, easy, flowy recreation ride from the top of the mountain. Approximately 2 miles long, this new run will consist of a nice addition to the mix. Stay tuned for more!!!
...and Sam Boice is one of ours! Working at a ski hill can be thankless and cold. Many jobs are hardly glamorous, parking one of them. Try telling someone who wants to park in the loading zone she can’t or that plum spot, the one right by the lodge, isn’t available. But Sam Boice has turned the work into something else entirely, something like a calling. It’s still cold (and he’s there even when it’s 5 degrees with a wind-chill 10 degrees colder) but he’s transformed the job into something warm and welcoming. He’s my hero at the mountain, kind and generous and always with a smile. You can see it even with the balaclava on (it’s in the crinkle of his eyes). He knew my name long before I knew his, and because he’s often the first person you meet on the hill, he sets the tone for the day. He also sees the full realm of human behavior – or, at least, the lengths people will go to for first tracks on a powder day. And, the job has more to it than his smile. It’s literally changed how he sees the world. Here's my Q&A with him where he reveals his secrets from surviving the cold to getting people to put their clothes on...
“Can you see me?” Ansell Hawkins was asked. “Yes, I can,” was the answer, and now nearly a year to the day later, he explain. “Yes, I could see him – the most handsome telemarker bent over me.” Now before I continue, you can file this under the but-for-the-grace-of-god column. Personally every time I see a patroller rescuing someone, I always feel like that could be me – even more so as I write about the rescue. This story is also why you should support your ski patrollers.
In the run up to this year's Ski Patrol BBQ, I am celebrating the patrolers at Platty. First to get in the mood, I'm reposting this piece from last year on one of the mountain's youngest patrollers, Zane Ashford, now all of 16. And what a cool name, no? And a beauty. And she can save your life.
One of the best skiers at Plattekill? Someone in a pair of camo ski pants that look like they should have come from Cabella's. Someone whose two great loves seem to be skiing (first) and hunting (second). This is Rich Prado and his family are 3-generation Plattekill skiers.
What would you do for snow? Well, if you're one of about 50 Plattekill skiers, something close to a pagan ceremony. Last weekend there was a snow fest of sorts, a dinner and then a bonfire all to honor Ullr. Ullr, you say? Who? He is the snow god. His name also means "Glory." Read this from Wikipedia: "For decades and originating from within the winter skiing community of Europe, the Scandinavian god "Ullr" is considered the Guardian Patron Saint of Skiers (German Schutzpatron der Skifahrer). An Ullr medallion or Ullr ski medal, depicting the Scandinavian god Ullr on skis holding a bow and arrow, is widely worn as a talisman by skiers in Europe and elsewhere. In Norse mythology, Ullr also spelled Ull, a hunter god, was considered a superb archer and skier, and was the god to invoke when engaging in single combat, his favourite sport, however, was chasing game with a bow and arrow through the mountains at speed on skis."
Ed's note: This fine piece of epic prose describes a heroic race last weekend, AKA the Great Chef Races, held on Sunday morning, and betting all of a dollar. The race is going to be restaged this Sunday. It's a battle of men vs women where age seems to come before beauty, but some of us (the editor here is betting on beauty). Also note, this is a guest post by Mr. Nathan Batthany and Kaelie Van Loan.
The dollar was in play, the course was set handicaps were placed and ski patrol counted them down. It was a beautiful blue bird day on Sunday morning at Plattekill Ski Center when Nate Batthany and Kaelie Moon Van Loan stood in the starting gate at the top of Upper Sundown.
Oh yeah, whither the weather and where goes my winter? These are the questions on my mind. And probably yours too. I mean, I live what, 10 miles from Platty and I hear the wind raging and rain falling and I know how warm it is. So what happens now? See that nice picture? The one with the whales... Yeah that was last weekend when it was cold, squeaky-snow-cold where it sounded like crunched up styrofoam. See those whales? That is your answer. That is our salvation. They are going to ensure that we have a good weekend. Read more...